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Palm OS Tips and Shortcuts

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Palm OS Tips and Shortcuts

by Jeff Carlson, author of Palm Organizers: Visual QuickStart Guide

YOU BOUGHT YOUR PALM OS DEVICE to make your life simpler and more organized, right? Now that you have one, make the most of it. Palm aficianado Jeff Carlson has gathered a dozen or so of his favorite--and road-tested--tips and shortcuts. Follow them, and you’ll save yourself even more time and headaches.

LET THERE BE (BACK)LIGHT

If you don’t like the new method of backlighting (in which the screen is inverted), you can specify that the inactive pixels, not the active pixels, are illuminated when you turn backlighting on. Go to the Memo Pad, create a new record, then write the shortcut stroke (like a cursive L), a period (two taps), then the number 8. You should see the words “[Inverting Backlight]” which reverses the backlighting effect. Repeat the steps to return to the default backlighting style.

backlightbacklight

REASSIGN THE CONTRAST BUTTON

The new screens used in the Palm V and later models require only sporadic contrast adjustment. To put the Palm V’s contrast button to better use, install Palm V Contrast Button App Hack (www.synsolutions.com/). You can then program the button to launch any application.

TAKE CHARGE OF BATTERY TYPES

If you’re using different battery types (Alkaline/NiCad/Rechargeable Alkaline/NiMH), write the following in a text field (such as the Memo Pad) to toggle between more accurate battery gauges: shortcut stroke (like a cursive L), dot, 7.

CONSERVE BATTERY ENERGY

In the Palm Preferences, leaving the Beam Receive option on can drain your battery at a higher rate than normal. However, returning to the Prefs application to turn the option on each time you wish to receive something can be a pain. Instead, write shortcut stroke, dot, i in any text field, which will turn on Beam Receive for a single instance.

The other option is to press and hold the plastic Address Book button as if you were going to beam your business card. After you beam your information (or tap Cancel), you’ll be asked if you want to turn Beam Receive on.

THE EVER CHANGING MODES OF GRAFFITI

With Graffiti, you use special strokes to enter its different modes, such as stroking from the bottom to the top of the Graffiti area to enter Shift mode. If you change your mind and want to switch back to normal writing before committing to a capital letter or punctuation character, write a Back Space stroke (stroke from right to left in the Graffiti area), which effectively “deletes” the Shift or Punctuation Shift stroke you just made.

Day view

EXCUSE ME, DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?

The Date Book’s Day view provides a fine overview of the day, but doesn’t automatically tell you the current time. However, you can tap the date tab in the upper-left corner to briefly display the current time. This works in each Date Book view except for the Agenda view, which shows the time by default.

However, tapping the title bar under Palm OS 3.5 brings up the program’s menus, so although the time appears, it’s quickly obscured by the menu. Instead, tap and hold to view the time, then move your stylus off the tab to return to normal without engaging the menu.

STAY ON THE AGENDA

If you have the Agenda view displayed in the Date Book application under Palm OS 3.5, then switch to another application, then return to the Date Book, the Agenda will reappear. Normally, the Date Book returns to the Day view when you switch back to it. So, make sure you’re looking at the Agenda view before you exit the Date Book application if this is your preferred view.

QUICK LOOK UP

The Date Book includes a Look Up feature allowing you to switch to the Address Book and select a name to enter into a Date Book field. The Palm OS searches for last name when performing a lookup, so you can write a person’s last name and, if theirs is the only instance of that name, their name and phone number will appear without making a trip to the Address Book screen.

SAFE, AND PASSWORD-FREE

In the Security application, you don’t have to set up a password if you don’t want to. Setting Security to hide or mask records (under Palm OS 3.5) without specifying a password still makes private records unreadable. You won’t be asked to provide a password if you switch to Show Records.

Beam Address

BEAM ADDRESSES ON COMMAND

Under Palm OS 3.5 and later, you don’t have to view a record in the Address Book before beaming it. Use the Look Up field to find a record, which highlights the match in the Address List. Write the command stroke (a diagonal line from lower left to upper right) to view the command toolbar, then tap on the Beam Address icon.

BEAM YOURSELF A COPY

Need to duplicate a record but aren’t running Palm OS 3.5? You can make a copy by beaming it to yourself! In any text field, write the shortcut stroke, period, T. Then, select the record you want to duplicate and choose Beam Address from the Record menu. Write the shortcut stroke, period, T again to deactivate the beaming loopback feature.

Merge categories

MERGE CATEGORIES BY RENAMING

You can merge categories in the built-in applications without changing each record individually. Simply rename the categories so they share the same name; you will receive a dialog box confirming that you want to merge them.

FILTERS FOR EVERY OCCASION

In the built-in Mail application, you can assign different filter settings for local and remote (modem) HotSync connections. A more stringent set of filters for when you’re on the road, for example, can save you money if you’re paying hotel phone rates or using a calling card to connect to your desktop computer at home. Select HotSync Options from the Options menu, and choose an option from the Settings For pop-up menu.

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